Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Goodbye September

This month has flown by so quickly! We didn't think it would. We have tried to strategically take at least one vacation day each month in order to create a three day weekend. Labor Day fell on September 1st this year extending the first weekend of the month. Knowing we had a mini-vacation planned for early October, we decided not to plan any vacation days this month at all. We thought it would drag. It hasn't. It's moved at just the right pace. Our four day mini-vacation is just a week away. We have mentally created our list of things to pack and we have left enough time to get everything done. 

There was still one more weekend to go, though and that, as always, would start with saling. Our list was not as big as it had been the past two weeks but there were still a few sales that looked promising. Our first stop was an easy choice. The pictures for this sale showed an aluminum Christmas tree in its box and one old felt Christmas decoration hanging on the wall. Both were very much of interest to us. We really didn't feel very confident that we would get the tree. First of all, we really didn't think that there were that many great sales out there. We didn't mean just for us...we meant for everyone. This first sale might be the dealer's choice. We might be one line. It might be a long line. Secondly, even if we DID get to the tree first, it might be way out of our price range. We were not willing to pay a lot. We have aluminum Christmas trees...two of them. We even have a third that has a little damage but can be fixed with some patience. We were interested in the tree but we did not HAVE TO have it.

We arrived at Sale #1 five minutes ahead of its scheduled time to find a line but not a bad one. Monica appears to be holding up a sign advertising the sale! She was just standing behind it. It took us almost an hour to get here and we were not disappointed with the line at all! We expected it to be much bigger! We were inside just moments after the doors opened but still too late to get the aluminum Christmas tree. One of the people at the front of the line is a dealer (who we see often) and he got to it first. That's okay...we were really not expecting to get it and we did get the felt Christmas decoration that we wanted. Rob found the room where it hung from the wall, removed the pushpin and had it in his hands in what seemed like seconds after we arrived inside.

There were two floors in this house and the basement seemed like a good place to start (after finding the felt Christmas decoration). There was a basement bar but it wasn't all the great. Monica happily searched behind it but found nothing.

The best thing in the basement was this great old television which was in amazing condition but did not come home with us. We already have one old television already! 

A search of the other rooms brought us some other things of interest. By the time we left, we had some old Halloween die-cut decorations, some records, a Hawaiian barkcloth dress for Monica, some decks of cards and a couple of Christmas items. We spent just twenty minutes here and found plenty of great things. Productivity was important. We had six stops on our list. Breakfast was also important. We were both hungry. A place to eat would be our next stop.

After breakfast, we went to Sale #2 which was described as "40 years of accumulation". What we saw, as we slowly drove by, was that "40 years of accumulation" can sometimes fit onto two small tables. What we could also see was that even getting out of the car would be a waste of time. We moved on.

Sale #3 was described as "70 years" of stuff and Monica was anxious to see what was here. It was a garage sale run by one of the guys who works at a tag sale company we know. We knew it was a garage sale before we arrived because the ad listed a rain date. Yes, there may have been things there that were 70 years old. No, there was nothing of interest to us. We were making good time but not finding very much. 

Sale #4 was run by a tag sale company that we like a lot and we hoped we would find something good here. The ad showed many great pieces of mid-century furniture (and they were) but not much else. This company rarely highlights the smaller things and we have had many days of finding great things of interest at their sales. Unfortunately, today would not be one of those days. A ten minute visit. Nothing from this house came back with us to the car.

Sale #5 was described as a multi-family garage sale having "80+ years" of stuff. We were now heading in the direction of home after not having all that much success. This did turn out to be a worthwhile stop. We found a record, an old astronaut Halloween customer and three sets of old salt and pepper shakers!

Just across the road from Sale #5, we stumbled upon an outdoor church sale. You never know if these will be good or not. Although there was not much for us, we did buy one record.

Our last sale of the day was described as "50 years of collecting". This was the second day of this sale and we chose to go here last, partially because it was the furthest away from our first stop and partially because it looked the least promising of all the sales on the list. We were still anxious to find out what "50 years of collecting" looked like. We still don't know. There was very little in the house and, judging by the way the rooms were cordoned off,  there probably wasn't much at any time. We bought one record. 

Here are some of the things we brought home today:

Some Christmas records

Some more records

An old circus banner, some decks of cards, squirrel salt and pepper shakers (marked Japan), an old package of multi-purpose garland and pineapple salt and pepper shakers

A Hawaiian barkcloth dress for Monica (made in Hawaii by Hukilau Fashions)

Halloween items...an old astronaut Halloween mask and some die-cut decorations

Packages of foil Christmas garland made in Japan. Until last week, we never found any of these. Now we have found them two weeks in a row!

Some Christmas items...an old Christmas tree skirt, a felt holiday mail bag (marked Japan) , a small stocking, an old package of ornament hangers and two sets of salt and pepper shakers (marked Japan)

We were home pretty early on Saturday since so many of the sales were quick stops and relaxed the remainder of the day. Sunday was another story. We spent the day doing laundry and errands, organizing the attic and "curb alerting" some old furniture that we no longer wanted. We had them in the garage in anticipation of having a garage sale this year which never happened. We put six pieces of furniture out front and advertised them on Craigslist in the free section. We kept an eye out as things were taken and updated the ad with each little change. Within three hours, they all had new homes and we removed the ad. 

The last task for the day was to start putting up our Halloween decorations. We usually like to wait until the first weekend in October but we are going on a mini-vacation next Saturday so we started early. By Tuesday evening, we were done.

Finding a place for the blow mold pumpkins and the die-cut decorations wasn't too bad.

Finding a way to display all of our old trick or treat bags was not too easy and so...

...we didn't...at least for now. They are strewn on shelves for the time being. We will figure out a better way next year.

 However, the cats get to roam freely atop the curtain rod.

The Pez dispensers and Halloween ducks even have a place!

September is almost gone and October is almost upon us. Halloween can be seen in the distance ahead but it can wait. Our mini-vacation begins on Saturday and we have looked forward to this for months. It is now less than a week away and this week can't go fast enough for us now. We're ready for it. Hand in hand together...we're ready. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Last Weekend of Summer 2014

The last weekend of summer was now upon us. September was now just two weeks away from drawing to a close. The weather has gotten noticeably cooler. The daytime high temperatures have averaged in the low 70's and it has dipped into the 50's at night. The leaves have not starting changing color yet but that cannot be too far off. Although we have not had to turn on the heat in the house, the chill in the air as we begin our morning commutes into work has necessitated running the heat in our cars. There's no doubt...autumn is upon us. We love the summer but autumn has so much to offer and we will embrace every moment of it.

Just because the season is changing doesn't mean our routine would change. Saturday would mean saling and, for the second week in a row, our choices were plentiful. There was no specific sale that stood out but we did see two sales that each had a picture in their ad that drew us to them. Both were Christmas things. We wanted them. They each began the same time and each of them were two counties away but it would only take 45 minutes to get into that area and, in pursuit of those two items, we chose to go to those sales first.

Sale #1 was originally scheduled to be our second stop. There was a vintage stocking in one of the pictures in the ad that we really wanted here but we did not think it would be as coveted as something we saw in another sale's ad. When we were reviewing our list on Friday night, that other item mysteriously disappeared from their ad. At that point, our priorities changed. We decided to go after the sure thing. When we arrived at this sale, we encountered the dreaded line. We like this tag sale company and we have found that, even when they do have lines, they move quickly. We had a chance to take turns searching the garage while the other waited on line. It was a productive search. We grabbed two boxes of old party lanterns in that garage. It was a great start and, just fifteen minutes after our arrival, we were inside the house. 

There were several rooms to search and the basement had a mounted pencil sharpener. That's always a good sign! Even better....

...it had TWO mounted pencil sharpeners! 

When we arrived at the room that had the Christmas items (and there wasn't that much), someone got there ahead of us and he had four vintage stockings in his hand. He had already been through a box of loose Christmas ornaments too, though none of interest to us. We immediately swooped in after he had finished and found one stocking he had missed. All five stockings were identical, distinguishing  themselves from each other only by the name sewn onto the stocking itself. he got the four representing the family members. We got the one labeled "Princess" (who we later discovered was the family dog). Given the choice, we got the one that we would have chosen. The house had a lot of rooms and we spent a good amount of time here. By the time we left, we had two boxes of party lanterns, the Christmas stocking, a few records, a "no feet" Donald Duck Pez dispenser, some 1970's Wacky packages and product cards and stickers, a gum wrapper chain (see the pictures below), some old Princess Phone keychains and a few other things of interest. It was a good first stop...and the Princess Phone keychains were a harbinger of things to come!

We arrived at Sale #2 with hope that we would find more Christmas things. They had originally had a picture of an old plastic Santa that we really wanted. It would have been our first stop if the picture of that item had not disappeared by Friday evening. The sale was run by a tag sale company whose we don't know all that well. Do they accept under the table offers prior to the sale? We certainly hoped not! That always disappoints us. In any case, we went without high expectations but with mild optimism. 

The first thing we saw when we entered the house was this amazing old turquoise kitchen. 

It was perfect. It could only have been made better if the countertop was boomerang!

Amongst the cabinets was this turquoise dishwasher

It is a KitchenAid dishwasher!

Even the cabinets on the other side of the kitchen were great! 

It had a great pink bathroom (though we think they went too far with that vanity)

As we searched the basement, we ran across this mounted pencil sharpener. You know mounted pencil sharpeners are always a good sign!

This house was a great house to roam through because of all of its signs of past greatness. It was, however, upstairs that we found the best items in this house. There were the Christmas things. Although the mysterious missing Santa was nowhere to be found, we did find a few other great Christmas items that we would bring home with us along with a record, a small ceramic clown, some Christmas gift tags and a great ceramic scissor nest. While we were checking out, Rob asked the tag sale owner about the plastic Santa and what had happened to the picture. He explained that he updated the pictures during the week as the house was staged for the sale and that he did not remember anyone checking out with any plastic Santa yet.  Rob could tell he was telling the truth. He had never even made note of this Santa in his mind. His whereabouts still remain a mystery!

After our first two stops, it was time to move one county closer to home and then move on to the other sales on our list. After a brief stop for something to eat, we moved onto the third sale on our list which was described as "40 years of accumulation". It turned out to be a garage sale and a good one it was. We only needed ten minutes here but, by the time we left, we picked up two "Paint By Number" clown paintings from 1958, some cookbooks and one Christmas decoration.

Sale #4 was described as a "hoarder's home" and, while none of the pictures in the ad seemed to be of interest to us, the description intrigued us. When we arrived, we were surprised to see that it was run by a tag sale company that we know. There was not that much to search but, upstairs, we found the Christmas stash. Most of it was new but we did find two old "Made in Japan" Christmas things that were great. We also found some garden stakes in the garage that would be perfect for next year's garden. It was a worthwhile stop.

Sale #5 was just five minutes away from the previous one and was described as having "60 years of accumulation". This was a fun stop from the very beginning. The residents of the house were moving and "60 years of accumulation" were up for grabs. 

 Monica found a hat that she liked initially but decided against buying it

Rob also found a hat that represented his "other people". It was made in The Republic of Ireland, sold at the Duty Free Store at the Shannon Airport and dates back to the early 1960's. This came home with us. And, in case you hadn't noticed, look at those chairs in the background! They were sold before we even arrived. Although there was not that much there, we had a great time talking to the people who lived in the house, as well the guy running this sale. Aside from the hat, we found a few records and a great Princess Phone in its box. Those keychains we found earlier in the day were good luck charms!

The last two sales on our list were in the same town and on our way home. The first of these had a tag line of "60 years in the home". This was probably accurate but we did not find much of interest. We did find an old safe that was the sister safe to one that Rob had when he was a kid (and still has now). Monica's brother had the same safe as Rob when he was a kid.

Our last stop was our quickest of the day. There were a few things on the driveway but the door was closed. We knocked on the door and a young woman came to the door and seemed surprised to see us. We had to ask her twice whether there was an estate sale here today. At some point, the fog cleared for her and she said that there were some things in the driveway. We left, sincerely sorry for having taken her away from her bong. 

Aside from the garden stakes and Rob's Irish hat, here are some other items we took home today:

Some records

Some more records

Partridge Family records. The one on the top left came with its original Christmas card insert. The one on the bottom right had its original book cover insert inside! 

Some Christmas records

A Singer sewing book and some cookbooks

A gum wrapper chain. This was a big fad for girls in the 1970's and both Monica's sisters and my oldest sister used to make these back then

Some of the gum wrappers in the chain are long gone like Blackjack gum. Others, like Doublemint gum have vastly different wrappers nowadays

Some product insert cards and stickers from 1970's products

Wacky Packages, Superheroes cards and Warner Brothers cards from the 1970's

A pair of "Paint By Number" clowns from 1958

A Princess Phone and some Princess Phone keychains

A package of sewing needles from Woolworth's, some old traffic light "light pulls" (Monica had these in her house as a kid), an old dime holder from a bank, old Cracker Jack prizes, a WABC radio McDonald's button, a vintage cat pin for Monica, a baby keychain (Monica had this as a kid) and some old playing cards.

A ceramic "scissor nest", a ceramic clown, an old metal safe, a "no feet" Donald Duck Pez, an old red throw pillow and a set of ceramic bear salt and pepper shakers. All three ceramic items are marked Japan. The Pez was made in Austria sometime between 1954 and 1968.

Some old Christmas tags

Some Christmas things...a popcorn Noel, a ceramic Noel, a ceramic Santa pitcher, an old Santa pin and an old Christmas snow globe. The ceramic items are marked "Japan"

More Christmas things....a stocking, Mica houses and more!  The Santa on the left is a mini mug holder. It was missing its mugs but we have so many. It is marked "Japan". The snowman is an old candy holder. The Santa on the boot is marked "Japan". 

It was a great day of saling on Saturday which found us getting home during the late afternoon on Saturday. We took a nap together when we got home and then made dinner together before relaxing the rest of the evening. Sunday was spent doing errands and chores, as usual, after Rob watched his beloved Manchester United on television. It was a fun weekend and a somewhat productive weekend. Our sales were productive but that is never the most important thing. It is great finding things together but the most important thing will always be just being together...our life amongst the ducks...our life alongside each other.